Bullies and Jesus

Bullying is bad. I should know.

You probably think I’m about to go into a story from my childhood about how I was bullied in school. Well, I could. But I’m not going to. You see, while it’s true I was bullied in school there were also times when I was the one doing the bullying.

Being both the bully and the bullied can certainly give one a sense of how bad bullying is. Perhaps that’s why a couple of articles I read recently have been so gratifying.

Using Power Rightly & Wrongly

First,  Amy Julia Becker wrote about one person’s gracious and constructive response to a public display of insensitivity by a very powerful person toward those who are often marginalized and bullied. It’s not so much that the initial comment was an act of bullying, but the aftermath. I had no idea so many people would try to justify using words that hurt. Amy Julia did a great job explaining (for those who haven’t yet gotten the memo) that intentionally hurting someone is not OK.

Then I read about Chy Johnson. She’s a teen age girl who started high school this year. If that weren’t hard enough, Chy is also a person with a brain disorder. This made her easy to pick on, and she was bullied from the start. Chy’s mother knew only one other student at school so she called him to see if she could learn who was doing this to her daughter. She called the right guy.

Carson Jones is a senior, strikingly handsome, and the quarterback of the football team. When he got the call from Chy’s mom he did something better than hand over a few names. He started spending time with Chy. He introduced his teammates to her as well. Now the players eat lunch with Chy, they walk her to class, and the word has gotten out that bullying Chy is not OK.

Carson is quoted as saying, “They’re not bullying her anymore because they’ve seen her with us or something,” while another senior, Tucker Workman, explains, “It feels good to know that we helped someone else, because you know, we’re doing good, everything for us is going well, but someone else needs to feel good, too.”

Jesus and Bullies

The bullying Jesus confronted in the Bible was at times quite subtle and at others quite blatant, yet in each case we see his consistent love quite plainly. He is gentle with the woman dragged before him and charged of adultery. He is gentle with the Pharisee who sneers at the prostitute who bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears. Jesus does not ignore bullying, but he addresses it in ways that show the love of God to all around him.

Jesus does the same for us. He advocates for us in our weakness. (1 John 2:1.) He gave us the Holy Spirit, the advocate who is with each of us always. (John 16:7-11.) And not even the biggest bully of all, Satan, can speak against us:

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:34.)

I am grateful for people like Carson and Tucker and their teammates who will intercede on behalf of a young girl. I am grateful for people like Amy Julia who will write so powerfully and intercede for those who are easily marginalized.

Even more so, I am grateful that we have an eternal Protector who intercedes for us. Thank you, Jesus.

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15 Responses to Bullies and Jesus

  1. I think this appropriate just before Thanksgiving Day. As some of us will be walking into welcoming arms for a warm happy feast, others of us will feel like we are walking into the jaws of lions.

  2. Jeannie says:

    This post made me want to cheer and cry at the same time. I love the one boy’s comment: “everything for us is going well, but someone else needs to feel good, too.” That’s maturity.

    My son, who is 10, is developmentally disabled, has several champions at his school — mostly girls! One day I watched a very cute, stocky blonde girl give another boy the heave-ho when he tried to butt in line ahead of my son. And another girl classmate, who’s very protective, said, “Some people make fun of Jonathan or say bad things about him and I just say I don’t want to hear it because Jonathan’s my friend and he’s really nice to everybody. He’s friends with everybody. So I just say I don’t want to hear it.”

    More unsung heroes!

  3. jenn says:

    Awesome. So I often I am my own bully, beating myself up with satan’s lies. So glad God’s word is more powerful!

  4. Mary Anne says:

    Interesting that should be your topic today. Less than an hour ago I was reading some online commentary about this very topic and it said that most adult suggestions against bullying simply do not work, full stop. If you ever were bullied and got annoyed when grownups suggested, “Oh, just ignore it and they’ll stop” or “tell them you don’t like that and they’ll stop,” then you were right when you thought that was a load of buffalo baguettes. It said the single most effective method shown to control bullying was when the victim’s peers—other kids, other students—stood by the victim and spoke up against what was happening.

    My single most effective method was waiting until the bully was alone, dry-gulching him, and grinding his face into the ground, but this is perhaps not the method approved by Jesus . . . 😉 Still need to work on that sometimes. *sigh*

    • Tim says:

      Those well intentioned and misguided advisements are nothing but horse pucky. They sure didn’t work when I was a kid. Your preferred method is the one I employed in my fantasies about standing up to bullies, but the peer thing really does seem to be the only effective method.

  5. Yey! Part of the testimony I shared with my youth kids at the retreat was about how I was bullied by my peers for most of my childhood and teen years and how these days I find it to be a blessing that I was, because it helped me to connect with Christ who was bullied and continues to get bullied over all these years. Since He is God, His job was to also protect the vulnerable, as you stated through this. It is beautiful to hear stories of people who were helping those who were looked down upon! It is something that you don’t see too often done because supposedly it “ruins” one’s reputation to help someone else out when you’re a kid? HA! Thanks for the great post.

  6. Sarah says:

    You know, I was bullied as a kid. And while my mother offered to intervene I thought I had to sort it out myself. And when I wasn’t able to I put up with it for three years. I don’t know if the teachers didn’t notice or what? But bullying didn’t have the profile it does now. Let’s hope kids have learned not to bully.

  7. Elizabeth-Anne says:

    I am not a subscriber to the whole ‘ sticks and stones ‘ thing. Words can and often do hurt more than blows, and are oftentimes ( at least in my own case, I won’t speak for others ) longer lasting, sometimes forever.
    Name calling and constant put downs erode a person’s self worth and make you want to be invisible against a world who does not want, understand or accept you.

    I should know, I have been called many filthy names in my time, about my color, my weight, my looks, my nationality, my character, etc and they hurt like Hades. So nope, not a fan of the bully, even if they themselves are damaged souls.

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